#Mom on the Move: Moms Share Their Experience

About the Mom on the Move series: Our Moms on Maternity Community Storyteller Shannon Handy Grassi highlights Moms by sharing their expertise, tips, and encouraging words. The hope is to inspire others looking (and often struggling) to find a balance.

In this installment of Mom on the Move, we introduce you to Deanne Gustafson. She is Mom of two girls and a former television journalist turned business owner. She and her husband run Kombucha on Tap, a beverage distribution company.

Shannon: Hi Deanne, Please tell me about yourself....how many kids, ages, your path to being a mom?

Deanne: I have two little girls. A two-year-old and a six-month-old. I had two under two for about four months and that was intense. My path to being a mom has been somewhat traditional. Got married in my early 30’s and we started trying about 2 years after. I honestly thought getting pregnant would happen fast but it took us almost a year and half. I went to an acupuncturist who really helped! If that didn’t work, I was going to start the process for adopting. For our second daughter, we weren’t trying but we weren’t preventing. They are a year and a half apart. In an ideal world I would have spaced it out maybe six more months, but all good! I feel really blessed to be a mom!

Shannon: I understand you and your husband started a company....tell me about that. How are you able to find a balance between starting a company and being a mom?

Deanne: We started Kombucha On Tap when we were engaged. We saw a window of opportunity in the market and took it. That was six years ago. Our business is actually older than our marriage! Really it’s our first baby. Kombucha On Tap is a healthy beverage distribution company that delivers kegs of kombucha and cold brew coffee to businesses, offices and homes throughout Southern California. We have 10 employees, an office in Vista and one in LA. If you had told me 10 years ago I’d be a beverage distributor, I would have said you are crazy! I definitely couldn’t have predicted it.

The balance between being a mom, a boss and a wife is really hard! I actually took a big step back in our company around our second year of running it when I noticed it was affecting our marriage and stressing me out. Marriage and family will always come first. When I became a mom, I took an even bigger step back to be a stay at home mom who also works from home. I basically work after 7:30pm when the kids go to sleep, unless I’m totally burnt out and just need to netflix and chill. I’m very part time with career right now and more of a consulting role with our company after our second was born. My husband is the CEO and still works 60+ hours a week. I support him as best I can. I also jump on conference calls and stop by the office about once a week for a couple hours. My balance is tipped towards mom life. I’m in the thick of it and one day “balance” might be back but that day is not today.

I do have help. My toddler goes to daycare two days a week and my parents and in-laws help sometimes too. I don’t think you can balance it all. Trust me, I try! You just have to pick what your priority is going to be. For me, that priority is being able to be with my girls at home and I’m working on finding peace with intentionally slowing down work-wise.

Shannon: What’s the one piece of advice you wish someone gave you before becoming a mom?

Deanne: Oh man, only one piece of advice? Hmmm. No one told me you might have a child who fights diaper changes. I had no idea that would be a thing. Or that nursing hurts like hell with the first baby (at least it did for me). Or that you’ll oddly love sitting in traffic if you are driving alone. I did have a friend tell me you’ll hate your husband for a year…that might be the best mom advice anyone ever gave me. The other best advice is when you can’t get your baby to stop screaming in the carseat after trying everything, get on the freeway, crank up the music, throw your hair in a bun and roll down all the windows. It will either put the baby to sleep or at least drown out the cries.

But really, I think there isn’t anything I wish someone told me ahead of time. I think the beauty of being a mom is that you learn as you go. There is no manual. We are all just winging it. Some days are hard and some days are easier. I try to choose laughter or hugs as a reaction whenever possible. Show love, teach kindness, and take time for yourself. Also take a million pictures and videos, time does go fast and you’ll be glad you documenting it.

Shannon: What’s been your biggest struggle as a mom? What has helped you through it?

Deanne: My biggest struggle as a mom is probably losing a bit of my own identity to take on the mom identity. Pre-kids I did whatever I wanted on weekends…not so much anymore. What has really helped me is finding a mom community and mom friends. Whatever I’m struggling with, other moms are struggling with as well. Realizing it’s normal or that I’m not alone has been the biggest help. The support moms give each other is one of the coolest things I’ve ever witnessed. You really don’t understand that until you become a mom.

Shannon: How has befriending other moms helped you navigate being a parent? What resources have you turned to? (Moms on Maternity, etc.)

Deanne: Befriending other moms has been so needed in this journey. I’m lucky to have a few close friends who were already moms to help me navigate being a parent. Locally, I’m in the Fit4Mom stroller strides community in Carlsbad, I have mom friends at MyGym Carlsbad, I’m a contributor for San Diego Moms Blog and I just learned about Moms on Maternity and super excited to get more involved.

Thanks, Deanne!!!


Shannon Handy Grassi

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Shannon Handy Grassi is a mom of two girls, born April of 2017, and December of 2019. She works full-time as a news reporter at CBS (KFMB) in San Diego. During her free time, she loves adventuring outdoors with her family, meeting a girlfriend for a drink, or sweating it out in a workout class. Her parenting philosophy is one of constant growth…..don’t be afraid to try new things in an effort to find out what works best for your family, whether it’s with meals, travel, discipline, etc. Also, make sure to make time for yourself! Shannon is a huge believer in leaning on other moms for advice and companionship. She hopes that by sharing their stories, you’ll benefit from it too!